Blog Archives: January 2012 — December 2012

Who Is The Real St. Nicholas?

December 04, 2012
Many Christians will celebrate the Feast of Saint Nicholas on December 6, the day of his death in AD 343.  But who is the real St. Nicholas? Historically speaking, though Nicholas is one of the most popular saints in the Greek and Latin churches, his existence is not attested by any primary source  documents of which I am aware. (Please correct me if I am wrong). What follows is my best attempt to articulate the church’s memory from secondary sources and suss out what this might mean for us today. Nicholas (270-343) was born to a wealthy ...

What Will Our Elders Do?

November 24, 2012
One of the pastoral tasks I have given myself to this fall is preparing for the Celebratory Worship Service and Dinner Party on Sunday, December 16, where we will perform several sacred actions, one of which will be to ordain our first group of elders and deacons.  I have written a bit about the ministry of our deacons, so a word about the ministry of our elders is also in order. 

In Luke’s two-volume history of Jesus and the apostolic church, we read:

 “Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in each church and, with prayer and fasting, ...

What Will Our Deacons Do?

October 11, 2012
Once upon a time, on a dark and stormy night, on a steep and dangerous mountain road called “the Bloody Way,” in an alley full of crags and caves, twists and turns, shadows and silence... These are not Jesus’ exact words, but this foreboding feeling pervades one of his most famous and provocative stories, The Good Samaritan (Luke 10). Check out The Miracle Maker / Ralph Fiennes version if you want to get a sense of the mood Jesus is narrating. We do well to reflect upon this story as we prepare to ordain our deacons on December 16, ...

The Neighborhood Parish and Sticky Community

October 01, 2012
  Yesterday in our bi-annual Christ Church members’ meeting, we discussed, among other things, the role of the Parish in community formation and cultural transformation. This Fall marks the beginning of our second year to organize ourselves around the neighborhood Parish. The conversation yesterday prompted me to pick-up a book that I read a little over a year ago, Robert Putnam’s "American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us." Putnam, a Harvard sociologist, also wrote the ground-breaking book on community back in 2001 entitled ...

Are you truly in Community?

September 25, 2012
Community: What is it? We all want it, but are we willing to sacrifice for it? Will we ever be fully satisfied with it? For Christians, does community ever become fully realized in this life--or, do our longings for community extend all the way through this present world to the beauty of a re-created one? This week's post is from Katie Gray. Katie recently shared a journal entry on community at both of our worship locations. We encourage you to read those journal musings here in our weekly blog... I’ve never been much of a joiner. In middle ...

The Christ Church Footprint

September 10, 2012
Christ Church, What a wonderful joy to be back with you. What a wonderful anxiety to be back at work--it feels like running a marathon with no training runs. Don’t worry, I am not overworking--just getting back into the routine and regular swing of things. Life will settle a bit in a couple of weeks. I thought an appropriate first blog entry upon return would be to dust off the storyboard that I wrote back in April prior to the Summer Sabbatical. I post this again now for three reasons: New people. New people. New people. Good grief, we ...

How do we end the sabbatical?

August 27, 2012
Our Lead Pastor and Director of Christ Church Kids, Bart and Katie Garrett, will soon be returning from their four month sabbatical.  So the big question rolling around the vast amounts of empty space in my head is, “How do we end this sabbatical? We spent a year praying and preparing for the sabbatical, so how do we end it in similar fashion?”   

Well, if I’m honest, I find myself in a push-pull.  The “push” is wanting the Garretts to hurry up and start working again so I can hand off the baton, catch my breath, have a life again, enjoy the ...

Baptism Testimony: Julien Lafrance-Vanasse

July 07, 2012
The first time I came to Christ Church I heard the song “Satisfied” that starts like this: All my life long I had panted for a drink from some cool spring  That I hoped would quench the burning of the thirst I felt within  I was born in Quebec (Canada), in a society that, at the time of my birth, was collectively rejecting organized religion. People were tired of an oppressive and invasive institution, but threw away at the same time faith and spirituality. I grew up learning how to lean on me and myself only. I must admit that this gave ...

Getting It All Done

May 21, 2012
"We are all busy, yes. But we also labor under potent illusions, and isn’t it a wondrous thing that we can help ourselves see through them by lending a hand to someone else?" Gareth Cook I read Getting It All Done by Gareth Cook in the beginning of April and it could not have come at a more perfect time. I was in the midst of planning/executing the Project Peace Speakers Series, The Slave Next Door and was feeling slightly pressed for time. The article cites a study by the Harvard Business School which found that, "doing something for ...

A Sabbatical to an Exodus

May 01, 2012
  So it’s Tuesday, May 1.  Day 1 of the Sabbatical.  If you follow Jonathan on twitter (I don’t, but he told me about it:) you will see that he has already:  fired Bart given himself a raisechanged everything  I tried and tried to think of something that dramatic and radical to do, but I just couldn’t.  Especially something like the change everything part.  Can’t figure out how he did that in just a couple of hours.   So my radical move for Sabbatical Day 1 is to use someone else’s content instead of my own in this blog post...that’s right.  ...

2016 Christ Church Storyboard

April 19, 2012
Sometime in 2016 -- a typical week at Christ ChurchThis paper is a storyboard--a sketch of what might be or could be. It is not a sketch of what will be. Storyboards shape the story, and begin to inform its telling. Yet, we are many conversations and many more prayers away from any sort of specific detailing. 150 adults and oodles of children gather in Rockridge for what has become a family-heavy (matching the community’s demographics) worship time and location. Our kids are being taught from the Scriptures and growing up in a church that ...

Teachers of Worship

April 09, 2012
"Will you as a congregation undertake the responsibility of assisting these parents in the Christian nurture of this child?"   This Sunday we will respond in the affirmative as we baptize more of our covenant children.  What will it mean for us as a family at Christ Church to assist our children in Christian nurture? This year we have welcomed many new people (including children) into the life of our church.  We celebrate communion and family worship each week, but we make a special point to highlight our children on the first Sunday of each ...

True Story

April 04, 2012
"This entire service just makes me angry!" After the service last week I was approached by a couple in their late 70s or early 80s. She was a sweet woman with a large, "flowy" (as my daughter might say) skirt, and he very much looked the part of a Berkeley professor--tweed jacket, disheveled and unkempt hair, and book bag made out of hemp. It turns out he wasn't from Berkeley but was a retired professor. He and his wife live in Vermont and were visiting children and grandchildren that live in Berkeley. He said, "I was actually looking ...

Ashes to Beauty

February 22, 2012
"Out of These Ashes, Beauty Will Rise: Lament and the Season of Lent" So here it is.  Today is Ash Wednesday.  Lent is here.  Protestants usually fall pretty short in both our practical understanding and spiritual practice during this season.  I thought I might simply provide a couple of resources that may be helpful in the journey through Lent, as we look long towards the Day of Resurrection (now slightly distant but soon not to be!)   One musician/artist I have followed for quite some time now is the Christian singer/songwriter Steven ...

Learning from our Kids

February 10, 2012
Patience. Children require a lot of it! You may experience this as a parent or while simply waiting in line at Trader Joe’s behind a kid who isn’t allowed to get two chocolate treats. But I would contend that it takes more patience on the part of little kids to learn to do life with grown ups. Adults expect so much from life.  We try to accomplish way too much in way too little time.  We feel the need to look like we have it all together, even when we don’t. And we often drag our kids through the chaos and uncertainty. But these kids will ...